Operation Macomb Strong Honors Healthcare Workers and Essential Personnel

Christine McKinney, TIA, (248) 334-4971
Suzanne Schut, HFMH, (586) 263-2893

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Michigan, May 7, 2020 – Jim Santilli, CEO of the Transportation Improvement Association, was hospitalized for six days at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital in March due to COVID-19. Today, he is fully recovered and grateful for the outstanding care he received.

To thank the healthcare workers and essential personnel at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital, Santilli joined forces with George Penna and the Macomb County Sheriff Aviation Unit to create Operation Macomb Strong.

“While hospitalized, I saw the commitment, courage, and strength of our remarkable healthcare heroes,” said Santilli. “Operation Macomb Strong was created to thank our outstanding healthcare workers and other essential personnel on the front lines against COVID-19. They are united and Macomb Strong.”

Yesterday, Villa Penna in Sterling Heights prepared food for more than 400 healthcare workers at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital and joined Santilli in recognizing the hospital for saving countless lives.

“Our real strength is in community,” said Penna. “The Penna family, and employees of Villa Penna and Penna’s of Sterling, are pleased to help our community and honor our heroes. We hope this will encourage other businesses to support the hospital in their community.”

Once the food was prepared, a helicopter transported it to Henry Ford Macomb Hospital.

“We are all in this together, working to fight this COVID-19 pandemic with the amazing support of our first responders, health providers, community members and others,” said Barbara W. Rossmann, President & CEO of Henry Ford Macomb Hospital. “We sincerely appreciate the support we are receiving on the front lines, and in turn, feel blessed to be here in our community’s greatest time of need.”

The food was sponsored by George and Tony Penna, and Santilli. Dave Lawler, a pilot for the Macomb County Sheriff Aviation Unit, donated his Robinson R44 Raven I helicopter for this mission.